Archive for ‘Cocktails’

January 27, 2013

Hartsyard

by minibites

Hartsyard

Hartsyard gets it right. It’s a little restaurant that has found the right balance of being innovative yet keeping the it real. We’re a chatty bunch, but the food gives us silent intermissions between each dish as we munch.

HartsyardSalmon Cooked in a Jar

Seated with a menu in hand, it’s common courtesy to ask the others what they’re keen for tonight. “Meat! Lots of meat!” my Russian dining companion demands and we’re lucky. The menu is divided into Seed & Feed, with “seed” being nibblish, yet still a very substantial portion. “Feed” are the larger dishes, but all in all, are designed to share.

Our only “seed” is a jar filled with salmon. Yes, I had to admit there was a little pre-assumption that the jar is a bit of smoke and mirrors. But no, it was one of the best smoked salmon with boasting credentials the next day. A fresh dollop of creme fraiche on the side, greens, pickled gherkins and home baked rye bread crisps.

Hartsyard Peachy Keen Sour

There’s a bountiful of cocktails to choose from, while my Pisco Punch is good, it wasn’t as fabulous as the Peachy Keen Sour with pieces of stewed peaches at the bottom.

Hartsyard

Pulled Pork

The first of our “feed” dishes arrive and a fat, glistering slice of maple bacon sits on top of our cube of pulled pork. With my new fisheye lens, I also capture my poor, yet patient dining companions eyeing the dishes to dive straight in.

The dish is so well juxtaposed with a less than beautiful looking piece of meat with fresh apples, shards of pork rind, fennel and yoghurt. The maple bacon is sweet and heart clogging but oh so good long with tender pieces of pulled pork below. My only complaint is that I wished I fought for more of it.

Hartsyard

Fried Chicken

With luck, I’m dining with like-minded friends tonight and I jump at the opportunity to grab some fried chicken. It’s been a craving that I’ve been trying to suppress, but this this hit the spot. Crunchy, flavoursome and succulent on the inside, I was happily munching on my drumstick with my fingers and wiping the crumbs off my face, while the others were gracifully eating theirs with cutlery.

Hartsyard

Smoked Wagyu Brisket

The last “feed” is the smoked wagyu brisket, and hello! This is melt-in-your mouth goodness and served with an arrangement of pickled and fried greens with a bbq mayo.

Hartsyard

Maple Brulee

The night ends with the maple brulee, served quite naked without its usual white ramekin bowl. A crunchy dome, silky brulee, slivers of Palmier pastry, scoops of cherry ice cream, cherries and an interesting walnut coffee crunch.

IMG_5193

On the quieter end of Enmore Rd, Hartsyard is a mix of clean and grungy basement interiors, dishing up some great feeds. The menu changes almost every time the seasons do which gives a great reason to keep coming back for more.

Hartsyard
33 Enmore Rd
Newtown, Sydney
www.hartsyard.com.au

Hartsyard on Urbanspoon

July 24, 2012

Ladies Who Lunch @ The Village

by minibites

The Village

For a little more wild and hot spot to giggle and gossip that’s inappropriate for High Tea – The Village is perfect to leave the boys at home for a weekend brunch sesh. Think of creamy vibrant dips, juicy marinated olives, tossed salads and indulgent desserts and jugs of Pimms… cue the group text message.

The VillagePimms & Lemonade

With a Sydney filled with cafes and their no-bookings policy, Ladies Who Lunch is the perfect for those who love to get organised. The set menu doesn’t disappoint and is enough to fill the entire afternoon up.

The Village

The VillageAntipasto Plate

The Village
Sicilian Arancini

Nothing else gets the tastebuds revving but a good ol’ antipasto platter filled with cured meats, peppers, olives, dips and it’s all hands on deck with rounds of toasted garlic sourdough as our utensils. Juxtaposing the cold, arancini balls filled with piping hot spinach and smoked mozzarella work a treat.

The Village
Crispy Salt & Pepper Squid

A simultaneous agreeance comes about when the salt & pepper squid arrived. No one hesitated play friendly to fight for the last piece of this dipped generously in a side of chili aioli.

The VillageMargherita Pizza

The Village
Roasted Pumpkin

The Village
Tomato 

And if that wasn’t enough, a piping hot thin crusted pizza with bubbles of cheese, fresh slithers of tomato and basil and plenty of the good herby stuff. But it’s also a nice relief to see more bowls of colour with a roasted pumpkin salad with a mix of pine nuts, baby spinach and marinated crumbles of feta. And one of the best food marriages is fresh torn basil and tomatoes with drizzles of balsamic vinegar.

The Village
Chocolate Fondant

The Village
Apple & Berry Crumble

After a solid savoury interlude, the creme de la creme sugar finale is brought forth. A piping hot chocolate fondant served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and the sweetest berry coulis. The other, a layered apple and berry crumble with vanilla anglaise. Delish.

The Village
The Village

Rubbing our bellies full, it’s a satisfying afternoon playing catch up and the perfect excuse to wear heels during the day. It is a set menu (min. of 4) so grab a few girlfriends and have a cheeky midday feast!

Minibites and a guest dined courtesy of The Mews.

The Village
1 Kellett Way
Potts Point, Sydney
www.the-village.com.au

The Village on Urbanspoon

April 24, 2012

PaperPlanes

by minibites

Paper Planes

Okay, I admit that I have a little crush on the Barge brothers and the delectable cocktails and dishes they bring to the scene. Teamed up with Phil Capaldi, the boys have a new addition to the family in a hidden, reformed alleyway along Campbell Parade. Walking in, your eyes are casted to the 400 and something skateboard roof, flying origami cranes and an enticing long bar at the back.

Paper Planes

We kick off with some chilled beverages and in true LL Wine & Dine style, there’s an innovative cocktail menu. Tonight I’m on the Tokyo Pop, a fruity mix with a cheeky popping candy rim. The boys are on tap beer, Orion, which is of course Japanese.

Paper Planes

The menu is designed to share and there’s a mix of old and new Japanese. The entrees and mains are a modern take, while the sushi menu keeps it simple but offering good ol’ favourites with a sprinkle of PaperPlanes magic.

Paper PlanesHomemade Pork & Cabbage Gyoza

Paper PlanesSalmon Tartare Nachos

Entrees kick start with dishes of edamame, gyoza and salmon nachoes. The homemade gyoza is limited each week and are served with a chili oil and ponzu mix; the ponzu adding the perfect amount of tartness. Th salmon nachoes are kept cool in a wooden bath of ice and served with crispy prawn crackers.

Paper PlanesSpicy Tuna Makisushi Roll

There’s a selection of sushi and sashimi to choose from; my favourite is the spicy tuna with the refreshing inclusion of apple while the spider roll has a firey kick with hidden fresh wasabi.

Paper PlanesSake Flamed Teriyaki Chicken

Paper PlanesBraised Beef Short Ribs

The mains are hearty and keep us warm from chill and rain – the sake flamed teriyaki chicken is deceptively flavoursome and perfect with a bowl of rice and the sauteed mushroom mix. The braised beef short ribs are perfect for the lazy as they are off the bone swimming in a sauce of yakiniku (sake, mirin, soy) – all balanced with the sourness of pickled vegetables.

Paper Planes
Tokyo POP plant

Paper Planes
The Black Egg

The desserts are adventurous. Our Tokyo POP plant is a lemon cheesecake in disguise, all of which would have been complete if there was a super crumbly biscuit base which we were all digging for! The black egg on the other hand, is delectable. It is a layered “egg” of macadamia nut oil, coconut milk curd and a floating disc of chocolate sauce (there’s not much, so you have to fight for it!).

Paper Planes

Follow the lighting strike and have a cocktail, or two.

PaperPlanes
178 Campbell Parade
Bondi Beach, Sydney
www.paperplanesbondi.com

PaperPlanes on Urbanspoon

March 2, 2012

Spice I Am – The Restaurant

by minibites

Spice I Am

Spice I Am has been a Christmas tradition with my work girls. Every Christmas we wine and dine at the Darlinghurst restaurant to exchange gifts and as cliche as it sounds, giggle throughout the night sharing the best moments of the year. It’s been three years now without fail. There’s just something special about traditions.

Spice I Am

There’s an off-shoot of this restaurant in Surry Hills but the Darlinghurst one has an amazingly extensive food and cocktail menu. My favourite cocktail is the Tiger Paw with a secret ingredient that binds it altogether. Most of the cocktails on the menu are refreshingly fruity to counteract all the spiciness later on…

Spice I Am Massaman Curry Nua

Spice I Am Gaeng Ped Yang

The curries are without doubt delicious; both creamy and flavoursome. Our favourite is the massaman beef as we dive into the tender pieces beef; a result of patient slow cooking! Another familiar is the roast duck curry with plenty of kicks of kaffir lime leaves and thai basil garnished on top.

Spice I Am Moo Gob Prik Khing

Spice I AmMoo Gob Pik Pao

There’s no holding back with us girls. We love to indulge, and in a bit of pork belly so the next two dishes are naughty as can be – stir fried, super crispy pieces of pork belly with a dash of chili jam or red curry paste and plenty of chillis, green beans, cherry tomatoes and a hint of greens to balance it all.

Spice I Am

If you can handle the heat and spice, this is the perfect place to be (and don’t forget their extensive cocktail list!)

Spice I Am
296-300 Victoria St
Darlinghurst, Sydney
www.spiceiam.com/the-restaurant 

Spice I Am - the Restaurant on Urbanspoon

January 29, 2012

District Dining

by minibites

District Dining

Sticky fingers, crossing of forks across the table and fighting for the last piece – there’s a huge emergence of restaurants offering shared plates of food. Lucky for me, I love this style of eating.

District Dining

District Dining has been on my radar since Taste of Sydney and my red-faced encounter with Warren Turnbull during the cooking school since I openly admitted that I hadn’t dined at Assisette or District Dining!

District Dining changes its menu as often as I buy shoes. Its extensive menu has plenty of dishes to share and grows beyond to the blackboard with daily specials with a liquor to satisfy everyone.

District Dining
Crispy School Prawns w/ Lime Mayonaise

District Dining
District Chicken Wings w/ Chilli Caramel

Entrees were a little oversized for just the two of us; super filling but still finger lickin’ till the last wing. The chicken wings are sticky with a honey-esque coating hiding the pipping hot chicken inside. The school prawns are extra crispy with a little spice that give you an addicted feeling to keep you going back for more.

District Dining

The mister laughing uncontrollably as I dipped the prawns into the lemon water, meant for rinsing fingers…

District Dining
Spiced Lamb Brik Rolls

Intrigued by what a brik roll was, we were pleasantly surprised when our table filled with middle eastern aromas. A crispy filo-like pastry hugs a spiced lamb mince on a bed of eggplant topped with tzatziki and sumac. Delish.

District Dining
Herb Gnocchi

My colleague recommended the herb gnocchi and it’s definitely worth a mention. Soft pillows served in a bed of summer veggies, a light parmesan cream and the crunch of pangritatta.

District Dining
Cookie Sandwich

Dessert time rolls around the corner and there’s a discretion of what to choose… the fight is settled with an intelligent decision of indulging in two desserts tonight. The first is for all sweet tooths out there; the cookie sandwich filled with ice cream and generous honeycomb parfait pieces. It’s like the soft side of a Crunchie chocolate bar.

District Dining
Strawberries and Cream

My favourite is the meringue, which on the menu seems too simple but all it’s merit is the combination of sweet meringue shards, chilled raspberry sorbet and sour dehydrated raspberries.

District Dining

Too many dishes but not enough bellies to fill. Bring the crowd so you can dig into everything!

District Dining is now closed.

District Dining
17 Randle St
Surry Hills, Sydney
www.districtdining.com.au

District Dining on Urbanspoon